Population receptive field analysis of the primary visual cortex complements perimetry in patients with homonymous visual field defects.
ABSTRACT: Injury to the primary visual cortex (V1) typically leads to loss of conscious vision in the corresponding, homonymous region of the contralateral visual hemifield (scotoma). Several studies suggest that V1 is highly plastic after injury to the visual pathways, whereas others have called this conclusion into question. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure area V1 population receptive field (pRF) properties in five patients with partial or complete quadrantic visual field loss as a result of partial V1+ or optic radiation lesions. Comparisons were made with healthy controls deprived of visual stimulation in one quadrant ["artificial scotoma" (AS)]. We observed no large-scale changes in spared-V1 topography as the V1/V2 border remained stable, and pRF eccentricity versus cortical-distance plots were similar to those of controls. Interestingly, three observations suggest limited reorganization: (i) the distribution of pRF centers in spared-V1 was shifted slightly toward the scotoma border in 2 of 5 patients compared with AS controls; (ii) pRF size in spared-V1 was slightly increased in patients near the scotoma border; and (iii) pRF size in the contralesional hemisphere was slightly increased compared with AS controls. Importantly, pRF measurements yield information about the functional properties of spared-V1 cortex not provided by standard perimetry mapping. In three patients, spared-V1 pRF maps overlapped significantly with dense regions of the perimetric scotoma, suggesting that pRF analysis may help identify visual field locations amenable to rehabilitation. Conversely, in the remaining two patients, spared-V1 pRF maps failed to cover sighted locations in the perimetric map, indicating the existence of V1-bypassing pathways able to mediate useful vision.
Project description:There is extensive controversy over whether the adult visual cortex is able to reorganize following visual field loss (scotoma) as a result of retinal or cortical lesions. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) methods provide a useful tool to study the aggregate receptive field properties and assess the capacity of the human visual cortex to reorganize following injury. However, these methods are prone to biases near the boundaries of the scotoma. Retinotopic changes resembling reorganization have been observed in the early visual cortex of normal subjects when the visual stimulus is masked to simulate retinal or cortical scotomas. It is not known how the receptive fields of higher visual areas, like hV5/MT+, are affected by partial stimulus deprivation. We measured population receptive field (pRF) responses in human area V5/MT+ of 5 healthy participants under full stimulation and compared them with responses obtained from the same area while masking the left superior quadrant of the visual field ("artificial scotoma" or AS). We found that pRF estimations in area hV5/MT+ are nonlinearly affected by the AS. Specifically, pRF centers shift towards the AS, while the pRF amplitude increases and the pRF size decreases near the AS border. The observed pRF changes do not reflect reorganization but reveal important properties of normal visual processing under different test-stimulus conditions.
Project description:Are silencing, ectopic shifts, and receptive field (RF) scaling in cortical scotoma projection zones (SPZs) the result of long-term reorganization (plasticity) or short-term adaptation? Electrophysiological studies of SPZs after retinal lesions in animal models remain controversial, because they are unable to conclusively answer this question because of limitations of the methodology. Here, we used functional MRI (fMRI) visual field mapping through population RF (pRF) modeling with moving bar stimuli under photopic and scotopic conditions to measure the effects of the rod scotoma in human early visual cortex. As a naturally occurring central scotoma, it has a large cortical representation, is free of traumatic lesion complications, is completely reversible, and has not reorganized under normal conditions (but can as seen in rod monochromats). We found that the pRFs overlapping the SPZ in V1, V2, V3, hV4, and VO-1 generally (i) reduced their blood oxygen level-dependent signal coherence and (ii) shifted their pRFs more eccentric but (iii) scaled their pRF sizes in variable ways. Thus, silencing, ectopic shifts, and pRF scaling in SPZs are not unique identifiers of cortical reorganization; rather, they can be the expected result of short-term adaptation. However, are there differences between rod and cone signals in V1, V2, V3, hV4, and VO-1? We did not find differences for all five maps in more peripheral eccentricities outside of rod scotoma influence in coherence, eccentricity representation, or pRF size. Thus, rod and cone signals seem to be processed similarly in cortex.
Project description:Damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) leads to a visual field loss (scotoma) in the retinotopically corresponding part of the visual field. Nonetheless, a small amount of residual visual sensitivity persists within the blind field. This residual capacity has been linked to activity observed in the middle temporal area complex (V5/MT+). However, it remains unknown whether the organization of hV5/MT+ changes following early visual cortical lesions. We studied the organization of area hV5/MT+ of five patients with dense homonymous defects in a quadrant of the visual field as a result of partial V1+ or optic radiation lesions. To do so, we developed a new method, which models the boundaries of population receptive fields directly from the BOLD signal of each voxel in the visual cortex. We found responses in hV5/MT+ arising inside the scotoma for all patients and identified two possible sources of activation: 1) responses might originate from partially lesioned parts of area V1 corresponding to the scotoma, and 2) responses can also originate independent of area V1 input suggesting the existence of functional V1-bypassing pathways. Apparently, visually driven activity observed in hV5/MT+ is not sufficient to mediate conscious vision. More surprisingly, visually driven activity in corresponding regions of V1 and early extrastriate areas including hV5/MT+ did not guarantee visual perception in the group of patients with post-geniculate lesions that we examined. This suggests that the fine coordination of visual activity patterns across visual areas may be an important determinant of whether visual perception persists following visual cortical lesions.
Project description:Visual stimulation produces oscillatory gamma responses in human primary visual cortex (V1) that also relate to visual perception. We have shown previously that peak gamma frequency positively correlates with central V1 cortical surface area. We hypothesized that people with larger V1 would have smaller receptive fields and that receptive field size, not V1 area, might explain this relationship. Here we set out to test this hypothesis directly by investigating the relationship between fMRI estimated population receptive field (pRF) size and gamma frequency in V1. We stimulated both the near-center and periphery of the visual field using both large and small stimuli in each location and replicated our previous finding of a positive correlation between V1 surface area and peak gamma frequency. Counter to our expectation, we found that between participants V1 size (and not PRF size) accounted for most of the variability in gamma frequency. Within-participants we found that gamma frequency increased, rather than decreased, with stimulus eccentricity directly contradicting our initial hypothesis.
Project description:People with schizophrenia (SZ) experience abnormal visual perception on a range of visual tasks, which have been linked to abnormal synaptic transmission and an imbalance between cortical excitation and inhibition. However, differences in the underlying architecture of visual cortex neurons, which might explain these visual anomalies, have yet to be reported in vivo Here, we probed the neural basis of these deficits using fMRI and population receptive field (pRF) mapping to infer properties of visually responsive neurons in people with SZ. We employed a difference-of-Gaussian model to capture the center-surround configuration of the pRF, providing critical information about the spatial scale of the pRFs inhibitory surround. Our analysis reveals that SZ is associated with reduced pRF size in early retinotopic visual cortex, as well as a reduction in size and depth of the inhibitory surround in V1, V2, and V4. We consider how reduced inhibition might explain the diverse range of visual deficits reported in SZ.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT People with schizophrenia (SZ) experience abnormal perception on a range of visual tasks, which has been linked to abnormal synaptic transmission and an imbalance between cortical excitation/inhibition. However, associated differences in the functional architecture of visual cortex neurons have yet to be reported in vivo We used fMRI and population receptive field (pRF) mapping to demonstrate that the fine-grained functional architecture of visual cortex in people with SZ differs from unaffected controls. SZ is associated with reduced pRF size in early retinotopic visual cortex largely due to reduced inhibitory surrounds. An imbalance between cortical excitation and inhibition could drive such a change in the center-surround pRF configuration and ultimately explain the range of visual deficits experienced in SZ.
Project description:Deafness results in greater reliance on the remaining senses. It is unknown whether the cortical architecture of the intact senses is optimized to compensate for lost input. Here we performed widefield population receptive field (pRF) mapping of primary visual cortex (V1) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in hearing and congenitally deaf participants, all of whom had learnt sign language after the age of 10 years. We found larger pRFs encoding the peripheral visual field of deaf compared to hearing participants. This was likely driven by larger facilitatory center zones of the pRF profile concentrated in the near and far periphery in the deaf group. pRF density was comparable between groups, indicating pRFs overlapped more in the deaf group. This could suggest that a coarse coding strategy underlies enhanced peripheral visual skills in deaf people. Cortical thickness was also decreased in V1 in the deaf group. These findings suggest deafness causes structural and functional plasticity at the earliest stages of visual cortex.
Project description:Importance:The neuronal mechanism of visual agnosia and foveal crowding that underlies the behavioral symptoms of several classic neurodegenerative diseases, including impaired holistic perception, navigation, and reading, is still unclear. A better understanding of this mechanism is expected to lead to better treatment and rehabilitation. Objective:To use state-of-the-art neuroimaging protocols to assess a hypothesis that abnormal population receptive fields (pRF) in the visual cortex underlie high-order visual impairments. Design, Setting, and Participants:Between April 26 and November 21, 2016, patients and controls were recruited from the Hadassah-Hebrew University medical center in a cross-sectional manner. Six patients with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) were approached and 1 was excluded because of an inability to perform the task. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging-based cortical visual field mapping and pRF evaluation and performed a masked repetition priming task to evaluate visuospatial perception along the eccentricity axis. The association between pRF sizes and behavioral impairments was assessed to evaluate the role of abnormal pRF sizes in impaired visual perception. Posterior cortical atrophy is a visual variant of Alzheimer disease that is characterized by progressive visual agnosia despite almost 20/20 visual acuity. Patients with PCA are rare but invaluable for studying visual processing abnormalities following neurodegeneration, as atrophy begins in visual cortices but initially spares other brain regions involved in memory and verbal communication. Exposures:Participants underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Main Outcomes and Measures:Population receptive field sizes and their association with visual processing along the fovea-to-periphery gradient. Results:Five patients with PCA (4 men [80%]; mean [SEM] age, 62.9 [3.5] years) were compared with 8 age-matched controls (1 man [25%]; mean [SEM] age, 63.7 [3.7] years) and demonstrated an atypical pRF mapping that varied along the eccentricity axis, which presented as abnormally small peripheral and large foveal pRFs sizes. Abnormality was seen in V1 (peripheral, 4.4° and 5.5°; foveal, 5.5° and 4.5° in patients and controls, respectively; P?<?.05) as well as in higher visual regions, but not in intermediate ones. Behaviorally, an atypical fovea-to-periphery gradient in visual processing was found that correlated with their pRF properties (r?=?0.8; P?<?.01 for the correlation between pRF and behavioral fovea-to-periphery slopes). Conclusions and Relevance:High-order visuocognitive functions may depend on abnormalities in basic cortical characteristics. These results may fundamentally change approaches to rehabilitation in such conditions, emphasizing the potential of low-level visual interventions.
Project description:We introduce functional MRI methods for estimating the neuronal population receptive field (pRF). These methods build on conventional visual field mapping that measures responses to ring and wedge patterns shown at a series of visual field locations and estimates the single position in the visual field that produces the largest response. The new method computes a model of the population receptive field from responses to a wide range of stimuli and estimates the visual field map as well as other neuronal population properties, such as receptive field size and laterality. The visual field maps obtained with the pRF method are more accurate than those obtained using conventional visual field mapping, and we trace with high precision the visual field maps to the center of the foveal representation. We report quantitative estimates of pRF size in medial, lateral and ventral occipital regions of human visual cortex. Also, we quantify the amount of input from ipsi- and contralateral visual fields. The human pRF size estimates in V1-V3 agree well with electrophysiological receptive field measurements at a range of eccentricities in corresponding locations within monkey and human visual field maps. The pRF method is non-invasive and can be applied to a wide range of conditions when it is useful to link fMRI signals in the visual pathways to neuronal receptive fields.
Project description:Receptive fields (RFs) processing information in restricted parts of the visual field are a key property of visual system neurons. However, how RFs develop in humans is unknown. Using fMRI and population receptive field (pRF) modeling in children and adults, we determine where and how pRFs develop across the ventral visual stream. Here we report that pRF properties in visual field maps, from the first visual area, V1, through the first ventro-occipital area, VO1, are adult-like by age 5. However, pRF properties in face-selective and character-selective regions develop into adulthood, increasing the foveal coverage bias for faces in the right hemisphere and words in the left hemisphere. Eye-tracking indicates that pRF changes are related to changing fixation patterns on words and faces across development. These findings suggest a link between face and word viewing behavior and the differential development of pRFs across visual cortex, potentially due to competition on foveal coverage.
Project description:The ability to distinguish a figure from its background is crucial for visual perception. To date, it remains unresolved where and how in the visual system different stages of figure-ground segregation emerge. Neural correlates of figure border detection have consistently been found in early visual cortex (V1/V2). However, areas V1/V2 have also been frequently associated with later stages of figure-ground segregation (such as border ownership or surface segregation). To causally link activity in early visual cortex to different stages of figure-ground segregation, we briefly disrupted activity in areas V1/V2 at various moments in time using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Prior to stimulation we presented stimuli that made it possible to differentiate between figure border detection and surface segregation. We concurrently recorded electroencephalographic (EEG) signals to examine how neural correlates of figure-ground segregation were affected by TMS. Results show that disruption of V1/V2 in an early time window (96-119 msec) affected detection of figure stimuli and affected neural correlates of figure border detection, border ownership, and surface segregation. TMS applied in a relatively late time window (236-259 msec) selectively deteriorated performance associated with surface segregation. We conclude that areas V1/V2 are not only essential in an early stage of figure-ground segregation when figure borders are detected, but subsequently causally contribute to more sophisticated stages of figure-ground segregation such as surface segregation.